Friday, 28 December 2007

38 - Jonathan Miller


In “Private Eye", 7 September 1962

A contribution from Jonathan Miller, one of the top young satirists of the early ‘60s, to the early “Private Eye”. This piece though was supposed to have been published anonymously. That it appeared so conspicuously under Miller’s byline elicited an angry letter from him in Washington DC where “Beyond the Fringe” was touring. The letter berated the staff of “Private Eye” as “stupid bloody irresponsible cunts”, because Miller thought he could be mistaken as advertising himself and therefore struck off the medical register.

Like much of the early satire in favour of homosexual reform, there is a tendency for rough irony, with gays themselves receiving a comic elbow in the face as the satirist’s arm is drawn back to plunge at the true target of bigotry. The word “poove” has always been enough to provoke a snigger in the pages of “Private Eye”.

John Gordon, already namechecked here, was the vehemently forthright editor an columnist for the “Sunday Express” newspaper.

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